music • 19 Apr, 2017
Equation: Hanoi’s First Boutique Electronic Festival
Here’s how the weekend went down in some of the artists’ own words
We hyped it for weeks, and it happened. Three days of titanic house and techno at a secluded campsite. Two stages. Crystal clear Funktion One sound systems. And no complaining neighbours.
The same weekend Radiohead struggled through their set and Lauryn Hill rocked a bar at Coachella, Equation Festival and its founder Ouissam (whom we talked to last week), gathered crews from underground clubs across Asia. Then they added international artists like Telephones, Alex from Tokyo, Shlømo and San Soda. And they got them all to this idyllic strip of land on Dong Mo lake surrounded by twenty islands.
In just four years, Quest Festival, held here again this autumn, is being name-checked in global best-festival lists. Now Equation looks like getting the same acclaim.
We don’t care if it’s too early to be looking forward to next year. It’s already happening. And here’s what some of our favorite people had to say about Equation.
Miya (Savage co-owner, Cliché Resident, Fragrant Harbour Sound System)
“After five years of Cliché, this felt special — we had all our friends, and our friends’ friends here. I started and ended with two reggae songs that mean a lot to me. I had a tough time this year. One day I heard Sister Nancy’s ‘Bam Bam’ while I was walking down the street and suddenly I wasn’t sad anymore. I ended with Alton Ellis’ ‘I’m Still In Love With You Girl’. It was playing one morning after a night partying and we all started grooving. And which animals came to check out my set? A couple of leopards probably slinked over to have a listen.”
Dan Lo (The Observatory)
“Equation was a perfect blend of relaxation...and madness. For my set it was almost dusk, so I tried to bring something that could bridge day and night in the outdoors. That wasn’t an elephant at the start, it was a trumpet sample looped over some percussion from the Skidoo track ‘Tearing Up The Plans’. I went for a cross section of the sounds I love, from organic to electronic to slow-tempo and faster dance music. It started raining at the end, which kind of added to the drama and magic of my experience of it all. How long do I think we would all survive for if they locked the gates? Not long.”
Antwork (Club Mystik, Seoul)
“For my set, I played at the Universe stage. I’ve been playing outdoor festivals for a long time and my festival sets are a little different from my club sets. Playing in the trees? I didn’t really notice them because I was so focused on the music, but I really liked the location. I’m always captivated by sensuous new sounds. I remember playing S. Crosbie’s ‘Blue Shift’. And the rest of the time I laughed a lot with my friends and relaxed.”
Andy Hart (Voyage Recordings)
“Equation was paradise in the jungle — intimate and intense. My set was on the Journey stage at the start of the day, and some people were only just rising, while others were still floating around from the night before! Playing ‘Gabriel’ by Pevan Everett captured the mood pretty well. I also played for around five hours on Sunday morning in the ambient tea tent. Good times. Ones that included listening to Electronic Butterflies’ ‘Skylab’...in its entirety.”
Tre Turner (Glasgow, Envy Music)
“I closed out the festival on the Journey stage on Sunday evening. There was about 30 minutes to go, I was playing Simoncino’s ‘Enigma’, the sun was setting, and the wind was whipping across the site. Even the slipmats kept blowing off the turntables! It felt like we were castaway together on some epic journey. It was the kind of event where you could really lose yourself in the music with that great lineup. The setting was important too, but also the people — chatted to old friends and met some new ones. What an amazing festival. And what a way to end it.”
Photos by Henry Bach
Words by David Kaye
Graphics by Thanh Duong